So here’s the thing: yes, this sucks and seems like an absolutely terrible decision. However, I really wonder how much of an information bubble Star Wars fans exist in. There are common “truisms” that seem to be generally accepted as facts within the “fan community” (whatever that means). Facts like (1) the Sequels suck, or (2) Rise of Skywalker is particularly ridiculous, or (3) Andor is amazing, etc. But are these opinions reflected in the general public? I mean I think the average movie-going consumer probably doesn’t give any of this much thought, and therefore for them the Sequel Trilogy was a fun little adventure. And I imagine most of the box office revenue comes from average consumers. So from Disney’s perspective this might not seem like such a bad idea. Granted, up until now, it really seemed like Disney was intentionally steering clear of anything related to the Sequels.
It would be nice to have actual polling data about this stuff. There are arguments to be made using proxies like toy sales and all that, but all of that is really speculative because it doesn’t control for other variables. (Like we could say poor toy sales for Sequel Trilogy products indicates general dislike of these films, but it could also just mean that the latest generation of children is less inclined to play with toys in general because they have iPads or whatever.)
But it’s definitely sad to me that we’ll never get a live action portrayal of Luke’s continuing adventures post-ROTJ and his new Jedi Order. Rey would be a great character if she was written to be trained by Luke and perhaps his star pupil. But they wrote her such that she doesn’t really learn anything from Luke, and she sort of just cannibalizes his story. But really, this is kind of to be expected because it’s obvious that The Force Awakens was never actually a Sequel. It was written as a “reboot”. Nothing in that film was written as a progression of previous events. Previous events were treated mostly as an inconvenience. The New Republic and Luke’s Jedi Order were grudgingly mentioned and then promptly blown up so we could move on to rebooted Rebels vs. Empire action. It’s kind of crazy that after waiting 30 years for a follow up to ROTJ, they decided to go with “A New Hope but with updated special effects” instead of a story that followed naturally as a progression of previous events, like an actual Sequel is supposed to do and like the EU actually did. So the fact that Rey simply repeats Luke’s story while sort of just deleting his prior accomplishments implied from the Original Trilogy follows naturally from the fact that Episode 7 was a reboot instead of a proper Sequel.
But yeah, I also find this whole thing very tragic.
What’s funny is this “pseudo-Sequel that’s really a reboot” thing seems very modern due to J.J. Abrams, since he did the same thing with Star Trek in 2009. However, this is actually a much older phenomenon and was very often the “default” way to write a Sequel. Consider that, for example, Ghostbusters 2 basically just deletes all the accomplishments of the first movie, and then just retells the same story. (And with the same characters no less.) This used to happen all the time with sequels. It was just obviously not the right way to continue with Star Wars, which was already a 6 episode story where each episode progressed from the events of the previous one.
Then again, who knows? Maybe this movie will just get canceled like half of Disney’s other announced projects.